Being there . . . squarely, emotionally, bravely in the carnage and shambles of the fight for Italy
by riding side by side with the top gunner in the heavily armored rotatable turret of an
upgraded M4 “Sherman” tank as it rolls, flattens, and crushes its way toward the stunning
capture of Rome on 4 June 1944. Simultaneously, meet reputed World War II historian Jeff
Danby who for two decades has provided readers, us ordinary, leisurely war reading buffs and
dedicated, deadly serious military bibliophiles, with the most graphic tank battle dramas yet
compiled, organized, and written. His first book “The Day of the Panzer: A Story of American
Heroism and Sacrifice in Southern France” was respectfully honored not only as a Military Book
Club “Main Selection”, but also as the History Book Club’s No. 1 “Main Selection”, both in 2008.
This book, “Men of Armor: Part Two, Cassino and Rome – – The History of B Company, 756th
Tank Battalion in World War II”, follows logically, nay, beautifully perfect, Jeff’s first installment,
“Men of Armor: Part One, Beginnings, North Africa and Italy”, which, in itself, is brilliant,
scholarly, and easy to follow via novel-like narration. Author Danby is unquestionable,
incontrovertible, the real stuff great military historian-authors are made of. His Part One was a
winner of the Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Awards in 2021. Lucky for us,
there is no question his matchless Part Two matches Part One’s gait, leaving us wondering how
long it will take Casemate, the Number One military publishing company in America, quality and
quantity-wise, to get around to publishing Jeff’s Part Three in his unique multivolume form.
Chronicling B Company bashing its way through and over the Gothic Line, past the Po River
Valley to the Swiss border, between 10 June 1944 and, the day WWII ended in Europe on 8 May
1945, will provide our personal libraries one of the finest trilogies of the Second World War yet
authored. First, however, we’ve got to take Cassino, a small town known as San Germano
before 1871, in central Italy. Then, under enormous fire, we must inch our way up to its
celebrated monastery and praying monks, to secure Highway 6 and access to the Liri Valley
leading to Rome.
SACKED BY LOMBARDS IN AD 589, DESTROYED BY SARACENS IN AD 884, TOTALLY DESTROYED
BY ALLIED BOMBING IN 1944 – – other than Stalingrad in 1942 no battle inferno in world history
equals the infernal likened to hell that was CASSINO, a realm of graveyards for the German
dead and occasional Italian monks – a pure inhabiting hell until American bombs bombed it into
another. . . .
Reviewed and highly, highly recommended by Don DeNevi
“MEN OF ARMOR: THE HISTORY OF B COMPANY, 756 TH TANK BATTALION IN WORLD WAR II,
Part II: Cassino and Rome”, by Jeff Danby. CASEMATE PUBLISHERS: 2022, 434 pages, 6’1/4” x
9’1/2”, hardcover; $39.95. Visit, www.casematepublishers.com.
An American tank company in World War II consisted of only five officers and approximately
100 enlisted men, all living, traveling, and fighting in 17 tanks, two jeeps, one truck, one half-
track, and one tank retriever. Uniting official records with the rich, personal accounts of the
participants is author Jeff Danby’s expertise, nay, genius, allowing us insatiable WWII
enthusiasts to ride, rock, and rumble along with the fighting, lives on the line, tankers into
highly detailed journeys and battles. B Company tankmen often fought at a disadvantage –
struggling to survive a myriad of battlefield challenges and victories against German SS tanks
that were heavier, better armed and protected. What was once envisioned as a warfare of
sweeping formations directed by West Point lieutenant colonels and ROTC captains quickly
devolved into small unit street fights relying more and more on the initiative, resourcefulness,
and cunning of lowly OCS lieutenants and combat-seasoned sergeants. “This book’s journey”,
Jeff writes, “is long, unforgiving, and brutal. Forty-seven fellow tankers will be lost along the
Tank aficionados in support of “MEN Of HONOR” will relish Osprey Publishing’s new “Foreign
Panthers, a superb 49-page essay on the Panzer V in British, Soviet, French, and other services
when captured between 1943 – 1945. The Panzer V was the most advanced and best-balanced
medium tank of World War II. Captured Panthers were coveted, believe it or not, by the Allies
well into 1958! It became the most important design influence on the postwar generation of
main battle tanks. Using detailed new artwork and rare photographs, this fascinating study
pieces together the story of the Panther in Allied hands and reassess the overstated stories of
the Panther’s supposed postwar use. Visit, www.ospreypublishing.com.
“FOREIGN PANTHERS – The Panzer V in British, Soviet, French and other service 1943 – 58”, by
M.P. Robinson & Thomas Seignon, Illustrated by Henry Morshed. Osprey Publishing: 2022, 48
pages, 7’1/2” x 9’3/4”, softcover; $19.